Anderson Hays Cooper (born June 3, 1967) is an American television journalist. He is the primary anchor
of the CNN
news broadcast show ''Anderson Cooper 360°
''. In addition to his duties at CNN, Cooper serves as a correspondent for ''60 Minutes
'' on CBS News
Born into a wealthy family
, Cooper graduated from Yale University
with a Bachelor of Arts
in 1989. As a young journalist, he began traveling the world, shooting footage of war-torn regions for Channel One News
. Cooper was hired by ABC News
as a correspondent in 1995, but he soon took more jobs throughout the network, working for a short time as a co-anchor, reality game show host, and fill-in morning talk show host.
In 2001, Cooper joined CNN, where he was given his own show, ''Anderson Cooper 360°'', in 2003; he has remained the show's host since. He developed a reputation for his on-the-ground reporting of breaking news events, with his coverage of Hurricane Katrina
causing his popularity to sharply increase. For his coverage of the 2010 Haiti earthquake
, Cooper received a National Order of Honour and Merit
, the highest honor granted by the Haitian government
. From September 2011 to May 2013, he also served as the host of his own syndicated daytime talk show, ''Anderson Live
''. Cooper has won 18 Emmy Award
s and two Peabody Award
s, as well as an Edward Murrow Award
from the Overseas Press Club
Cooper came out
in 2012, becoming "the most prominent openly gay journalist on American television" at the time, according to ''The New York Times
''. In 2016, Cooper became the first openly LGBT person to moderate a presidential debate
, and he has received several awards from the LGBT rights organization GLAAD
Early life and education
Cooper was born in Manhattan
, New York City
, the younger son of writer Wyatt Emory Cooper
and artist, fashion design
er, writer, and heiress Gloria Vanderbilt
. His maternal grandparents were millionaire equestrian Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt
of the Vanderbilt family
and socialite Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt
, and Reginald's patrilineal great-grandfather was business magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt
, who founded the prominent Vanderbilt shipping and railroad fortune. He is also a descendant, through his mother, of Civil War brevet Major General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick
, who was with General William Tecumseh Sherman
on his march through Georgia
. Through his maternal line, he is a second cousin, once removed, of screenwriter James Vanderbilt
Cooper's media experience began early. As a baby, he was photographed by Diane Arbus
for ''Harper's Bazaar
[Patricia Bosworth, "Diane Arbus: A Biography", NY: W.W. Norton, 1984]
At the age of three, Cooper was a guest on ''The Tonight Show
'' on September 17, 1970, appearing with his mother. At the age of nine, he appeared on ''To Tell the Truth
'' as an impostor. From age 10 to 13, Cooper modeled with Ford Models
for Ralph Lauren
, Calvin Klein
Wyatt suffered a series of heart attacks while undergoing open-heart surgery, and died January 5, 1978 at the age of 50. Cooper considers his father's book ''Families'' to be "sort of a guide on... how he would have wanted me to live my life and the choices he would have wanted me to make. And so I feel very connected to him."
[Van Meter, Jonathan, "Unanchored", ''New York''](_blank)
, September 19, 2005 (Retrieved on September 27, 2006).
When Cooper was 21, his older brother, Carter Vanderbilt Cooper, committed suicide
on July 22, 1988, at age 23, by jumping from the 14th-floor terrace of Vanderbilt's New York City penthouse apartment. Gloria Vanderbilt later wrote about her son's death in the book ''A Mother's Story'', in which she expressed her belief that the suicide was caused by a psychotic episode
induced by an allergy
to the anti-asthma prescription drug salbutamol
. Anderson cites Carter's suicide for sparking his interest in journalism.
Cooper attended the Dalton School
, a private co-educational university preparatory day school in the Upper East Side
neighborhood of Manhattan
. At age 17, after graduating from Dalton a semester early, Cooper traveled around Africa for several months on a "survival trip". He contracted malaria
on the trip and was hospitalized in Kenya
. Describing the experience, Cooper wrote "Africa was a place to forget and be forgotten in."
Cooper attended Yale University
, where he resided in Trumbull College
. He was inducted into the Manuscript Society
, majoring in political science
and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts
During college, Cooper spent two summers as an intern at the Central Intelligence Agency
while studying political science. He pursued journalism with no formal journalistic education
and is a self-proclaimed "news junkie since e
was in utero".
After his first correspondence work in the early 1990s, he took a break from reporting and lived in Vietnam
for a year, during which time he studied the Vietnamese language
at Vietnam National University, Hanoi
After Cooper graduated from Yale, he tried to gain entry-level employment with ABC
answering telephones, but was unsuccessful. Finding it hard to get his foot in the door of on-air reporting, Cooper decided to enlist the help of a friend in making a fake press pass. At the time, Cooper was working as a fact checker
for the small news agency Channel One
, which produces a youth-oriented news program that is broadcast to many junior high and high schools in the United States. Cooper then entered Myanmar
on his own with his forged press pass and met with students fighting the Burmese government.
He was ultimately able to sell his home-made news segments to Channel One
After reporting from Myanmar
, Cooper lived in Vietnam
for a year to study the Vietnamese language at the University of Hanoi
. Persuading Channel One to allow him to bring a Hi8
camera with him, Cooper soon began filming and assembling reports of Vietnamese life and culture that aired on Channel One. In 1992, he returned to filming stories from a variety of war-torn regions around the globe, including Somalia
, and Rwanda
After having been on such assignments for a couple of years, Cooper realized in 1994 that he had slowly become desensitized to the violence he was witnessing around him; the horrors of the Rwandan genocide
became trivial: "I would see a dozen bodies and think, you know, it's a dozen, it's not so bad."
["Anderson Cooper's Private War" by Po Bronson; ''Men's Journal'', March 2007]
One particular incident, however, snapped him out of it:
In 1995, Cooper became a correspondent for ABC News
, eventually rising to the position of co-anchor on its overnight ''World News Now
'' program on September 21, 1999. In 2000, he switched career paths, taking a job as the host of ABC's reality show ''The Mole
Cooper was also a fill-in co-host for Regis Philbin
for the TV talk show ''Live with Regis and Kelly
'' in 2007 when Philbin underwent triple-bypass heart surgery. As of 2019, he still periodically serves as guest co-host on ''Live'' when one of the two hosts cannot go into work.
Cooper left ''The Mole
'' after its second season
to return to broadcast news. In 2001, he joined CNN, commenting, "Two seasons was enough, and 9/11
happened, and I thought I needed to be getting back to news."
His first position at CNN was to anchor alongside Paula Zahn
on ''American Morning
''. In 2002, he became CNN's weekend prime-time anchor. Since 2002, he has hosted CNN's New Year's Eve special
from Times Square
''Anderson Cooper 360°''
On September 8, 2003, Cooper became the anchor of ''Anderson Cooper 360°
'' on CNN. Describing his philosophy as an anchor
, he has said:
In 2005, Cooper covered a number of important stories, including the tsunami damage
in Sri Lanka
; the Cedar Revolution
; the death of Pope John Paul II
; and the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
. In August 2005, he covered the Niger famine
In 2005, during CNN coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
, he confronted Sen. Mary Landrieu
, Sen. Trent Lott
, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson
about their perception of the government response. As Cooper said later in an interview with ''New York
'' magazine, "Yeah, I would prefer not to be emotional and I would prefer not to get upset, but it's hard not to when you're surrounded by brave people who are suffering and in need."
A contributor to ''Broadcasting & Cable
'' magazine wrote: "In its aftermath, Hurricane Katrina served to usher in a new breed of emo-journalism, skyrocketing CNN's Anderson Cooper to superstardom as CNN's golden boy and a darling of the media circles because of his impassioned coverage of the storm."
In September 2005, the format of CNN's ''NewsNight
'' was changed from 60 to 120 minutes to cover the unusually violent hurricane season
. To help distribute some of the increased workload, Cooper was temporarily added as co-anchor to Aaron Brown
. This arrangement was reported to have been made permanent the same month by the president of CNN's U.S. operations, Jonathan Klein
, who has called Cooper "the anchorperson of the future". Following the addition of Cooper, the ratings for ''NewsNight'' increased significantly; Klein remarked that "ooper's
name has been on the tip of everyone's tongue." To further capitalize on this, Klein announced a major programming shakeup on November 2, 2005. Cooper's ''360°'' program would be expanded to two hours and shifted into the 10:00pm ET slot formerly held by ''NewsNight'', with the third hour of Wolf Blitzer
's ''The Situation Room
'' filling in Cooper's former 7:00pm ET slot. With "no options" left for him to host shows, Aaron Brown
left CNN, ostensibly having "mutually agreed" with Jonathan Klein on the matter.
In early 2007, Cooper signed a multi-year deal with CNN that would allow him to continue as a contributor to ''60 Minutes
'', as well as doubling his salary from $2million annually to a reported $4million.
''CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute''
In 2007, he began hosting ''CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute
'', a show which honors and recognizes extraordinary deeds by ordinary people.
''Planet in Peril'' documentary
In October 2007, Cooper began hosting the documentary ''Planet in Peril'' with Sanjay Gupta
and Jeff Corwin
on CNN. In 2008, Cooper, Gupta, and Lisa Ling
from ''National Geographic Explorer
'' teamed up for a sequel, ''Planet in Peril: Battle Lines'', which premiered in December 2008.
Syndicated talk show: ''Anderson Live''
In September 2010, Warner Bros.
(both corporate siblings of CNN) announced that Cooper had signed an agreement to host a nationally syndicated talk show. The journalist Brian Stelter
(at the time employed by ''The New York Times
'', and now by CNN
), reported on Twitter that the new Warner Bros. daytime talk show would be named ''Anderson
'' (now titled ''Anderson Live''). The show premiered on September 12, 2011,
and as part of negotiations over the talk show deal, Cooper signed a new multi-year contract with CNN to continue as the host of ''Anderson Cooper 360°''.
On October 29, 2012, it was announced that ''Anderson Live'' would end at the conclusion of its second season. The show, slightly renamed after season one and revamped with a variety of co-hosts, failed to achieve the ratings distributor Warner Brothers hoped for. The final ''Anderson Live'' aired on May 30, 2013.
2016 presidential debates
Along with Martha Raddatz
, Cooper moderated the second presidential election debate
between Hillary Clinton
and Donald Trump
. This made him the first openly LGBT person to moderate a presidential debate in the general election.
New Years Eve
In 2017, Andy Cohen
joined Cooper in succeeding Kathy Griffin
as co-host of CNN's New Year's Eve coverage
They again co-hosted CNN's New Year's Eve for 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Cooper has been a correspondent for the CBS News
program ''60 Minutes
'' since 2007, while concurrently serving as a CNN anchor and correspondent.
Andy Cohen and Cooper announced that they would be going on a national tour to perform their conversational stage show ''AC2'' beginning in March 2015.
The tour opened in Boston
, followed by Miami Beach
The idea for the show came about after Cooper interviewed Cohen about his then-latest book, ''The Andy Cohen Diaries'', at an event at the 92nd Street Y
in New York City
. Since then, the two-man show has continued to tour, reaching more than fifty cities as of October 2018.
Cooper was the narrator for the 2011 Broadway revival of ''How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
'', directed by Rob Ashford
and starring Daniel Radcliffe
writer, Cooper has authored a variety of articles that have appeared in many other outlets, including ''Details
In May 2006, Cooper published a memoir
, ''Dispatches from the Edge'', detailing his life and work in Sri Lanka
, Africa, Iraq
over the previous year. Some of the book's proceeds are donated to charity.
The book topped ''The New York Times'' Best Seller list
on June 18, 2006.
In 2017, Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, co-authored ''The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss''. Compiled from a series of emails, the memoir recounts their shared past, and Vanderbilt's tumultuous childhood. Cooper said his goal in writing the book and correspondence was to leave "nothing left unsaid" between the pair. It landed on multiple best-seller lists the year of its publication.
Cooper has two older half-brothers, Leopold Stanislaus "Stan" Stokowski (b. 1950), and Christopher Stokowski (b. 1952), from Gloria Vanderbilt
's ten-year marriage to conductor Leopold Stokowski
. In 2014, Cooper appeared in Henry Louis Gates
' ''Finding Your Roots
'', where he learned of an ancestor, Burwell Boykin, who was a slave owner from the southern United States.
As of 2016, Cooper was not registered to any political party.
While promoting his book, Cooper told Oprah Winfrey
he had dyslexia
as a child.
In August 2007, he confirmed his "mild dyslexia" on ''The Tonight Show
'' to Jay Leno
, who also has dyslexia.
Cooper is openly gay
; according to ''The New York Times
'', he is "the most prominent openly gay journalist on American television". For years, Cooper avoided discussing his private life in interviews. On July 2, 2012, however, he gave Andrew Sullivan
permission to publish an email that stated, in part:
In 2014, Cooper and his partner purchased Rye House
, a historic estate in Connecticut.
CEO Tim Cook
turned to Cooper for advice before he subsequently made the decision to publicly come out as gay.
In March 2018, Cooper confirmed that he and his long-time boyfriend Benjamin Maisani had split up.
On April 30, 2020, Cooper announced the birth of his son Wyatt Morgan by a surrogate
on April 27. Though Cooper and Maisani are no longer romantically involved, the pair plan to co-parent
. Wyatt is named after Cooper's late father, Wyatt Cooper
, and his middle name is derived from the Vanderbilt side of his family, being the maiden name of his maternal grandmother Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt
Cooper helped lead CNN's Peabody Award
-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina, and the network's Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award
-winning coverage of the 2004 tsunami. He has won 18 Emmy Awards, including two for his coverage of the earthquake in Haiti, and an Edward R. Murrow Award
;Year of award unknown
*Silver Plaque from the Chicago International Film Festival
for his report from Sarajevo
on the Bosnian War
*Bronze Award from the National Education Film and Video Festival for a report on political Islam
*1999–2000: ''World News Now
*2001–2002: ''The Mole
*2002–present: ''New Year's Eve Live'' co-anchor on CNN and CNN International
*2003–present: ''Anderson Cooper 360°'' anchor] [
*2005: ''NewsNight'' co-anchor] [
*2007–present: ''60 Minutes'' correspondent] [
*2011–2013: ''Anderson Live''
*2021: ''Jeopardy!'' guest host]
*''The 33'' (2015)
*''Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'' (2016)
*''Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival'' (Harper Perennial, 2006). .
*''The Rainbow Comes and Goes'' (Harper Perennial, 2016). .
*LGBT culture in New York City
*List of self-identified LGBTQ New Yorkers
*New Yorkers in journalism
Anderson Cooper 360° Blog
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